On Monday, the Webster County Veterans Memorial Association (WCVMA), with the cooperation of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion, celebrated veterans and their service during the annual Memorial Day ceremony.
Held at the Marshfield Cemetery, the ceremony included a wreath-laying presentation, a ceremonial gun salute and the playing of "Taps." Representative John Black, who spoke at the ceremony, said he was grateful for the service of all the veterans who have sacrificed so much for their country. He talked about the cemeteries where his father and grandfather are buried and how they served in World War I and World War II. Black read aloud a document dated January 1945, signed by President Harry S. Truman, in memory of Henry A. Black, who lost his life during the Battle of the Bulge.
Following that, Todd Clark, Webster County VFW commander, led the wreath-laying ceremony by sharing a few words in recognition of fallen veterans.
"We do not consider them gone," said Clark. "In reality, they are very close to us. They are definitely a part of our thinking and actions. We feel that they have molded the future of our nation. They give us strong incentive to carry our crusade for lasting peace and better purpose in life. The highest tribute we can render those persons, the most profound respect all of us can demonstrate, is to apply in our own lives the strong faith and undaunted courage which were theirs."
Clark concluded, "To the families of those comrades, we pledge the sincere friendship of those veteran groups represented here today."
The wreath was placed at the base of the flag pole as a symbol of every known and unknown veteran gravesite. Red, white and blue flowers were placed in front of the wreath, in recognition of fallen veterans. The red flowers symbolized zeal of fallen comrades in upholding brotherhood, truth and justice, according to Clark, who placed the red flowers. John Means placed the white flowers as a token of purity and affection for all departed veterans, while Tom Tomlinson placed the blue flowers as a token of sincere respect to fallen comrades.
One of the attendees at the event was Debbie Mead. Her father, Deane McArthur, was part of the honor guard in the ceremonial gun salute during the event. Mead said she also has a son who served in the military.
"My son, Jason Letterman, lost his legs while serving in Iraq in 2008, but that hasn’t slowed him down any," said Mead. "He is very patriotic and keeps such a positive attitude about things. I’m sure he would have enjoyed this ceremony, too."